“Today, Rehberg has Forgotten 564,000 Montanans.”

by jhwygirl

That, from Democratic congressional candidate Tyler Gernant in today’s Helena Independent op-ed section.

Dennis Rehberg has been twittering the-sky-is-falling for weeks – no, make that months – now of the impending doom of healthcare.

Rehberg’s done nothing to contribute to meaningful discussion on reform – Rehberg has, in fact, been part of the teaparty movement of heckling some of the people who need health reform the most.

That’s right – Rehberg heckled a wheelchair-bound Hamilton woman to illustrate his meaningful input on health insurance reform.


As health reform legislation works its way to President Obama’s desk tonight (or what may be tomorrow, eastern time), many of us recognize that this reform is not perfect…but it is an important first step that will save lives. Gernant notes that in his editorial:

That is not to say that this legislation is perfect; it is not. Montanans still need a meaningful alternative to private insurance through a deficit-neutral public option. We still need a system that pays doctors for the value of their services instead of the volume. Although we may not get everything this year, there are a lot of positive changes that this legislation would bring to our health care system. We have waited nearly 40 years to attempt reform that would merely get us out of the starting gate. We cannot wait another 40 years for Dennis Rehberg to decide that true health care reform means more than to join a gym and stop smoking.

No battle is easy – and none is without loss to all who attempt the task. This bill includes over 200 Republican amendments, yet Republicans can not find even one vote in support. It does not provide the public option or single payer that so many progressives wanted to see.

With Rehberg, Montanan’s get even less – we get a man who heckles Montanans who need health insurance reform the most…a representative who would chose to leave 564,000 Montanans on the loosing end of completely unregulated health insurance industry.

  1. Anon

    Seems to me Rehberg voted for the majority of Montanans that do not support this unconstitutional bill. I imagine it will take years to settle the court cases – in the mean time we can all be paying for it before it takes effect in close to 4 years.

  2. petetalbot

    No, Anon, Rehberg did not vote for the majority of Montanans. Most Montanans want health care reform, and this bill is a very modest start. It isn’t perfect legislation but I haven’t seen any proposals from Denny that would mitigate our health care crisis. Rehberg is clueless on the issues that really effect Montanans.

  3. problembear

    why is it constitutional to vote for big bank bailouts and wars based on lies but somehow unconstitutional to help people afford decent health care in this country?

    the republicans and democrats who in alliance with the corporate interests have basically gutted this bill so badly it does practically nothing to solve health care affordability have at least passed a law which makes it illegal to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. what is unconstitutional about that?

    • Anon

      pb – I do agree with that portion of the bill – it is constitutional under the Commerce Clause. As I recall, 80% of the population spends $1000 or less on actual health care. Perhaps those that use it more should pay more for it. As you say, it does nothing to reduce costs. I also agree that the wars and bank bailouts are not constitutional and I opposed them from the very start.

      Pete – the last figure I heard was 81% of Montanans opposed the bill. You are introducing a different issue when you say the majority want health care reform. I agree – I want health care reform. This bill was not what I wanted. If it is what you wanted, you are in the minority. Don’t give me this first step crap. Is it everything you wanted?

      • petetalbot

        Anon, you’re quoting Denny Rehberg’s “81%” poll and that doesn’t count.

        And you certainly haven’t explained why this isn’t “a constitutional bill.”

        But you ask … does this bill have “everything (I) wanted?” Of course not. Legislation seldom has everything I want, and lots of people on both sides of this issue aren’t happy with this bill. This bill is better than doing nothing. I have yet to see your recommendations on fixing the health care crisis.

        • Anon

          Pete – I do not believe it is constitutional for the government to mandate me to buy something I may or may not want. If your copy of it contains this provision, please point me too it.

          I have yet to see your recommendations for fixing the health care crisis also. I guess we are even.

          • klemz

            Commerce clause. I don’t think the argument that it’s unconstitutional is even legitimate in light of how far SCOTUS has been willing to stretch the commerce clause over the past 70 years. There’s clearly an interstate market effect because of people choosing to go uninsured and obviously it’s not a due process violation to make someone purchase a product because state car insurance minimums do just that. I don’t think there’s any chance this gets overturned.

          • klemz

            As an aside, I agree with you that Congress should not have the power to pass laws regulating people who abstain from an interstate market — such as farmers growing wheat for personal use or medical marijuana patients doing the same — but I’m not on the Supreme Court, which has consistently said that Congress can in fact regulate any activity that, in aggregate, substantially effects an interstate market. Now can you honestly say that the 20-some percent of uninsured Americans don’t impact the health care market when many inevitably end up in the ER?

          • petetalbot

            My recommendation, Anon: a public option that would lead to universal, single-payer health care. You know, the kind that most developed nations have (along with cheaper overall costs and better results).

          • Sorry Anon. Klemz has got you against the wall. Remember, this SCOTUS court believes the government has the right to take property from anyone. You think they care about your quibble with buying insurance?

  4. problembear

    i do.
    allow us to choose a public option health insurance plan…

    are you listening @brianschweitzer ?

  5. Big Swede

    I have a prediction for November.

    Because of this bill Denny wins by his widest margin ever.

    • petetalbot

      Soothsayer Swede — I’m predicting the closest margin Denny’s had in his last couple of outings.

      • Big Swede

        Let me see, if you average the last two together ya get 61.6.

        I’m thinking he’ll beat his 64.6 benchmark.

        What’s your wager?

        • petetalbot

          You Swedes probably wager lutefisk and lefska and that sort of stuff. But I’ll make a small wager of your choosing that Denny doesn’t get over 60% (and I’m thinking it will be less but since it’s a real wager we’re talking about … ).

          • Big Swede

            Fair enough. I’ll give you 2%, that is if Denny breaks under 62% I’ll contribute $50 to any Dem cause you deem worthy.

            You pick an amount to send to the Landmark legal Foundation.

          • petetalbot

            Jeez, Swede, I said a small wager. You got a money tree in your backyard? Still, Denny isn’t going to get 62%, so I’m in. $50 to Landmark Legal Foundation if he does.

            But that’s it, everybody. No more bets. Baby needs new shoes.

          • Pete, if you lose this one, I got your back. In truth, I don’t have the faith in Montana voters that you do, but I have high hopes. And, if for no other reason than to annoy Swede, I’ll cover half your wager.

          • Mark t

            I so want to get you Dudes in a poker game.

  6. Jeff

    When FDR signed the Social Security Act in 1935 it didn’t cover agricultural workers. In hindsight, that’s appaling. But over the years the Act has been twicked and changed to where it is today.

    I think the same thing will happen with this Bill…it’s a start towards progress.

    • JC

      You’re assuming that their is the political will and ability to tweak the bill. Congress operates a lot differently today than it did after the Social Security Act was passed in 1935.

      And if you think this bill is “a start towards progress”, then your view of progress lies in a different direction than mine. Mine doesn’t take a detour through a mandate to purchase private insurance, enforced by the IRS.

      • That’s a rather cynical take, JC.

        Jeff is right. This bill has tons (in fact it has several metric tons) of issues. It barely achieves its goal of reform, save for the fact that now companies cannot turn away the sick (or pregnant, for that matter).

        Cynicism is a fair emotion during these political times, but it’s not helpful. And I want to be right there with you. But with this bill my wife and I, with our various health issues, cannot be denied insurance. And that’s such a relief that while I am angry as hell about the bill’s shortcomings, I have to at least think positively.

        We start here with a move — not a good move, or a very helpful move — but a move. Next, we take our anger and our hopes and we make changes. America always takes longer to get with the program. Why would this time be any different?

        • JC

          WHy? I explained it above.

          Yes, I’m cynical. Probably because I don’t know if I will live long enough to take advantage of any aspects of this bill. 4 years is a long time to wait for insurance. And none of the other options leading up to that moment provide anything for this pre-existing-condition-denied insurance consumer.

          In otherwords, it is a worthless bill for me, until 4 years pass. That sort of makes one a bit cynical.

          • Jeff

            Classic “JC”. “In otherwords, it is a worthless bill for me”. So, I’m sure you’re an upstanding citizen that never has to use the police. Just because you don’t use that service it’s worthless? Think beyond yourself for once…

            Why are American’s always just looking out for themselves? I would argue, that because of this simple state of mind, we are in the econmical mess we are in right now.

            If it don’t serve me, fuck it, it’s useless…wow.

          • JC

            Let’s see, the mantra during health care sunday was “health care is personal”. That remark was repeated by Obama during his statement after passage, and Pelosi during her remarks.

            I was just offering my “personal” take on it. It has nothing to offer me in the interim. That doesn’t mean I don’t understand the benefits it may offer some people in the meantime.

            But I also understand the problems it will create, and the problems it doesn’t solve, or exacerbates.

          • I’m sorry to hear that JC, about you being sick and possibly terminally ill. I did not know that. However, I stand by my opinion that cynicism cures nothing. I wish you the best, and yes, I am sorry that this bill will take four years to come to fruition. In the meantime I hope you can do all you can to get the word out on why we need a single payer system, or at least a public option immediately.

  7. petetalbot

    You Swedes probably wager lutefisk and lefska and that sort of stuff. But I’ll make a small wager of your choosing that Denny doesn’t get over 60% (and I’m thinking it will be less but since it’s a real wager we’re talking about … ).

  8. BTDT

    NO this was not a good bill. Obama wanted a health bill pushed through as his legacy (since he darn sure isn’t going to have any other) whether it was any good or not. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t know what the problem is. Over 80% of Montana’s and far as I can tell the whole country did not want this bill. We cannot give free medical care to illegal immigrants no matter what country they are from. You must be a legal U.S. Citizen to apply for insurance this bill offers and no money must be used for abortions except in cases of rape and incest. This bill is so large and so confusing and will take a courts to determine what it really says. Those who voted for will more than likely face very stiff competition when running for re-election and a large share of them will loose.

  9. Mark t

    God I hate this attitude that “mean old republicans don’t want to do nuthin'” and “at least Democrats are doing something.” That is so mindless!

    Yeah, Denny’s an idiot. But that fact does not make you less so or us safer with you in the majority than you. Sometimes we just have shorty choices.

  10. Mark t

    “shitty ” choices

  11. problembear

    it’s not an attitude mark. it is demonstrable fact that republicans have done nothing to help ordinary citizens in this country under bush and certainly they have refused to even offer solutions under obama. that is not debatable.

    the plain fact is democrats did something. republicans simply folded their arms and refused to participate while people suffered.

    how can any sane argument be constructed against those facts?

  12. all I worked for gone

    I kinda like the phrase “shorty choices”. Thought you were blazin rhetorical trails there, Mark.

    Rehberg voted with most Montanans and he will win again this fall, if for no other reason than to balance out the democrats’ senate delegation.

    • “all I worked for gone” is the greatest posting pseudonym of all time. It’s so bleak and resentful.

      • petetalbot

        I thought so, too, Duganz, and I’d like to know the story behind “all I worked for gone.” Was it an onerous tax burden imposed by Democrats, the financial meltdown that happened under the Republican’s watch … the banks, IRS, a major illness that led to bankruptcy? I want more.

  13. Mark t

    God almighty! If only the fog would lift for 30 second, but it doesn’t! It’s a house of mirrors, your friends are your enemies and your enemies are your enemies.

    You’re like children! These are grown ups you are dealing with – very smart people who know how to manage you.

    Nixon said that the key to success in politics was to realize that “the American people are like little children” any politician who treats them otherwise is doomed to fail.

    • JC

      “your friends are your enemies and your enemies are your enemies.”

      Sounds like everybody is your enemy, Mark. Sure wouldn’t want to be living your reality.

      And didn’t Nixon fail?

      Just as Nixon failed believing the world was full of children, so you are failing by proclaiming you are the only adult around, and are the master of reality.

      Mark, you cannot live in a illusory world of children without beginning to act like one. NOw I know why you act as you do.

      Leave your delusions and grow up, Mark.

  14. problembear

    this timeline is certainly helpful to understand this bill that is being signed into law today….


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